In a rapidly growing number of states and cities around the world, the health benefits of medical marijuana are being recognized. Most clearly, this is seen in the growing number of places choosing to legalize medical cannabis.
Alongside these legal changes is a growing body of research that points to medical marijuana’s numerous therapeutic uses. Now, a new survey seems to suggest that medical marijuana might help people reduce potentially harmful tobacco and alcohol addiction.
New Medical Marijuana Survey
The new survey was conducted by NuggMD, a medical marijuana evaluation company. Specifically, the company surveyed over 2,000 current and potential medical marijuana patients in New York.
The surveys asked a number of questions related to the effects of medical marijuana. And some of the questions had to do with whether medical marijuana impacted the patients’ consumption of tobacco and alcohol.
According to NuggMD’s published results, these questions were “just to get a preliminary assessment of cannabis’s effect on their use.”
Researchers working on the project said they were surprised when they saw the results. In particular, they highlighted the following findings:
- 73.8% of tobacco users said that medical marijuana helped them reduce cigarette smoking.
- 80.8% of alcohol consumers said they consumed less alcohol when regularly consuming medical marijuana.
What Do These Findings Mean?
According to NuggMD, these early survey results could have important implications. Specifically, researchers think it could open up a new area for further research.
“But alcohol and cigarettes are still taking out over 80,000 and 480,000 Americans per year respectively; which tops opiate’s rising death tolls by a substantial amount” NuggMD wrote.
“Research into remedies that can help us treat these addictions is desperately needed, and our New York study results show that cannabis should be at the top of that research agenda.”
The report also indicated that there has been some very limited research into ways that CBD might help people reduce tobacco and alcohol addictions. But, the report said, much more sustained research is needed.
Is Cannabis an “Exit Drug”?
“Cannabis may be an exit drug, not an entrance drug,” NuggMD wrote in its new report.
In research projects that are similar to NuggMD’s new survey, researchers have found that cannabis can help wean people off of opioid addictions.
For example, a 2014 study found that states with legal medical marijuana have fewer opioid overdoses.
Similarly, a separate study looked at CBD’s affect on morphine. In this project, researchers found that CBD can inhibit the reward mechanisms that fuel morphine dependence. Along with the 2014 opioid study, this seems to suggest that cannabis can actually help treat some drug addictions.
All of this, including NuggMD’s most recent survey findings, are helping undermine the old myth that cannabis is a “gateway drug.”
According to this trope, people who consume marijuana eventually find themselves in need of more intense highs. As a result, this myth says, many people eventually move from cannabis to serious drugs.
But, as many weed consumers believe, this is largely an overly exaggerated myth. In fact, new research now seems to suggest that the exact opposite is true.